By Mickey Howley
Critical mass is the smallest amount of stuff needed to sustain action at a constant level. Essentially how small can a thing be and still function and work as designed.
And so it was five years ago with the first Water Valley Downtown Studio Art-Crawl. The name seemed bigger than the event. It seemed like a non-reality based idea at the beginning, something only big cities, with their critical mass, could pull off well. The Valley seemed pretty small by comparison. The initial mass for the first crawl was eight stops and a dozen artists; six house studios, one small art school, one new gallery. It did not seem enough to get anyone’s serious reaction.
Despite the odds, the artists were willing. A much bigger than imagined crowd showed and by the end of the night, well, some new creative energy was in the air. Not radioactive, but definite buzzing fusion of place, energy, art.
Now at the fifth Crawl, the energy has increased exponentially. This year includes 15 stops, 40 plus artists, music, fashion show and an after party.
Sustaining the action at the core is the Water Valley Arts Council– which is not your average arts council. Lots of volunteer hours and generous support by enthusiastic sponsors and lots of prep at each crawl stop brings this event together.
Here’s how it works. The ArtCrawl map is below, cut it out and bring it with you this Saturday night. You can start anywhere on the map and go where you like, there is no pattern—you can run with a pack or strike out on your own. Or if you don’t want to mutilate your newspaper, stop by one of the three galleries on Main Street or any of the marked houses and pick up a fan map.
The crawling starts at 5:30 and ends at 9 p.m. The Fashion Show is right downtown on Main and Wood Streets at 9:15 and the after-party is at Pizza Getti 407 N. Main.
Make it a downtown week and get your pre-crawl training in this Thursday evening at 6 p.m. Downtown in Railroad Park will be the Blue Devils homecoming pep rally. The last one for the regular season.
The Blue Devils have been on a tear this year, winning their first four games. Come on out and cheer with the cheerleaders, meet the homecoming court, hear the band, and support the team!